Michael Hunter returned to the ring after more than a year out with a fourth-round knockout of Shawn Laughery in Galveston, Texas on Friday.
‘The Bounty’ (now 19-1-1) had not fought since a draw with Alexander Povetkin on the undercard of Anthony Joshua vs Andy Ruiz Jr 2 in Saudi Arabia in December 2019.
He is now a promotional free agent after parting ways with Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Boxing in the summer, and his attempts to get back into the ring had so far been frustrated. Even an offer to fight Dillian Whyte for free recently came to nothing.
Hunter, ranked #9 in our world heavyweight rankings, cemented his position there with a comfortable defeat of Laughery, which will act as a tune-up to bigger and better things.
Hunter fast into his stride
Michael was fast into his stride and had Laughery (now 10-4) down in the first round, a right hand to the side of the head setting up a furious assault which put his game opponent on the deck.
Rounds 2 and 3 didn’t bring the expected finish, and maybe Hunter was looking to shed some inevitable ring rust after that long hiatus.
The fourth though finally brought the coup de grace as Hunter really found his range. He gradually took Laughery to pieces with an accurate and sustained assault which saw punch after punch land. Finally Laughery was unable to beat the count to denote that Hunter had done exactly what was expected of him.
Hunter ready for anybody now
Hunter, who called out Whyte again in the post-fight interviews, still has just the one defeat on his professional CV – a points loss to fellow heavyweight contender Oleksandr Usyk at cruiserweight back in 2017.
‘The Bounty’, while he’d like Whyte, stressed he is ready to fight anybody out there at elite level. His undoubted skills though make him a tricky opponent for all. So it remains to be seen who will step up to the plate and give him a step back up to world level after this tune-up.